The Northlake Christian School Fishing Team of Christopher Capdeboscq of Covington and Sam Acosta of Madisonville brought in three bass totaling 9 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day of competition to win the 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. The duo’s three-day total of nine bass weighing 35 pounds, 12 ounces gave them the win by a thin 1-ounce margin over the second-place team of Colin McCullough and Justin Hamlin who caught 35-11 for Alabama’s Cedar Bluff High School. For the win, Capdeboscq and Acosta each won a four-year $40,000 scholarship to Kentucky Christian University.
Capdeboscq said the final day’s mostly calm, sunny conditions were less favorable than the previous two days’ cloudy skies and moderate winds. Developing options for both scenarios, he said, was essential to his team’s success.
“We had a really good 1-2 punch going this week, which was good for whether the bite was on fire or it was slow,” Capdeboscq said. “Sam was dragging a 3/4-ounce Strike King Jointed Structure Head with a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm and I was deep cranking with a 6th Sense Cloud 9 C20. The crankbait would get them fired up when they were feeling it and it would catch all the big ones.”
Capdeboscq said that using lighter line — 12-pound-test Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon — was key to getting his crankbait to maximum depth and keeping it in the strike zone.
The pair also tried to fish offshore areas with a bit less pressure.
“Everybody’s fishing ledges this time of year, so we just tried to find stuff that got less pressure,” said Capdeboscq. “Creek intersections, main river ledges. I’ve never practiced so hard for a tournament, but we found enough stuff to get us by and that’s what we did.”
A field of 215 teams competed in the event, which launched from McFarland Park in Florence, Alabama.
The top 10 teams at the TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake finished:
- 1st: Northlake Christian School, Covington, La. – Sam Acosta, Madisonville, La., and Christopher Capdeboscq, Covington, La., nine bass, 35-12, $40,000 Scholarship x2
- 2nd: Cedar Bluff School, Cedar Bluff, Ala. – Colin McCullough, Cedar Bluff, Ala., and Justin Hamlin, Fort Payne, Ala., nine bass, 35-11
- 3rd: North Augusta High School, North Augusta, S.C. – Nathan Boatwright, Warrenville, S.C., and Dustin Williamson, Aiken, S.C., nine bass, 35-5
- 4th: Lawrence County High School, Lawrenceburg, Tenn. – Walker Brown, Loretto, Tenn., and Jon David Bedford, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., nine bass, 33-7
- 5th: North Mississippi Student Anglers – Hayze Hutzel, Pelahatchie, Miss., and Dalton Smith, Brandon, Miss., nine bass, 32-11
- 6th: McCracken County High School, McCracken County, Ky. – Hunter Valerius and Sarah Morehead, both of Paducah, Ky., nine bass, 32-6
- 7th: Harmony High School, Harmony, Fla. – Grady Johnson and Dawson Turner, both of St. Cloud, Fla., nine bass, 31-12
- 8th: Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Minn. – Nick Dumke and Easton Fothergill, both of Grand Rapids, Minn., nine bass, 31-5
- 9th: Marietta BassMasters, Marietta, Ga. – Brooks Anderson and David Britt, both of Marietta, Ga., nine bass, 28-11
- 10th: Clay High School, Green Cove Springs, Fla. – Dalton Barnard and Parker Stalvey, both of Green Cove Springs, Fla., six bass, 21-8
Complete results and photos from the event can be found at FLWFishing.com.